10 December 2014

Japanese-style Beef Stew

It's been 3 days since my return from Tokyo, I already missed it terribly and yearning to return once more. Is it the weather, the food or just the overall atmosphere? Each time I visit the city, despite doing mostly the same old (shops, food), somehow I still managed to discover new areas and things. Hope I would get down to blog about it soon.

To cure my love-sickness for Japan, I cooked a Japanese-style Beef Stew yesterday and had it for both lunch and dinner. This recipe is from a NHK programme  きょうの料理 that I watched while I was in Tokyo and I managed to retrieve the recipe from their website.

 Very interesting stew because the method used is slightly different from the Western-style, and the sauces/seasonings used for the gravy is quite different as well. Besides red wine, demi-glace sauce is used, and seasonings like ketchup, tonkatsu sauce and worcestershire sauce. As usual I brought back some root vegetables (yes I'm a weirdo who buys groceries from Japan every time I visit) and used my precious carrot and potato for the stew.

Ingredients - potato and carrot (from Japan), swiss brown mushroom, white onion (recipe uses the small type of Japanese onion which I didn't buy), beef, garlic, bay leaves and celery.

Sauces - the key ones are red wine and demi-glace (I bought the Heinz packet from Japan. demi-glace sauce can be homemade as well); ketchup and tonkatsu sauce. Recipe also calls for worcestershire sauce which I substituted with balsamic vinegar, fish sauce and sugar.

Japanese-style Beef Stew
(serves 2-3 pax, adapted from NHK Kyounoryouri

  • 430g Beef shoulder, cut into 2-3cm chunks
  • 5 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 stalk Celery leaves
  • 1L Water
  • 150ml Red wine
  • 200g Demi-glace sauce
  • 20g Unsalted butter
  • 2pc White onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 190g Carrot, peeled and cut into 1cm thick rounds
  • 180g Swiss brown mushroom, remove stem
  • 300g Potato, peeled (I use baby potato)
  • 1 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Tonkatsu sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste 
  1. Marinate the beef chunks with sea salt and pepper and coat thinly with flour.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil in a cast iron pot, add garlic slices. Once fragrant, add beef chunks and sear all the sides till browned.
  3. Add 1L water, bay leaves and celery to the pot, bring to boil and then lower heat, simmer for about 50-60 mins till beef is tender.
  4. In a separate small pot, add red wine and cook on medium heat for 5-6 mins, till wine is reduced by half. Add the demi-glace sauce and cook on low heat for 3 mins. Off heat and set aside.
  5. In a frying pan, melt the butter then add all the vegetables. Sauteed for 5 mins. Off heat and set aside.
  6. Once beef is ready, add the vegetables from (5) to the pot, bring to boil then turn down the heat. Scoop and discard any scums from the soup. *I use the "Akutorishito" (something like a fine mesh cloth) bought from Japan to help absorb the scums and excess oil. Cover the lid and simmer for 10 mins.
  7. After 10 mins, remove the lid and add the red wine and demi-glace mixture from (4). Simmer over low heat for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. The gravy will thickened and reduced.
  8. For finishing, add the ketchup, tonkatsu sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is best served hot with rice or crusty bread. I had mine with rice because didn't have time to make any bread. The cook recommended sour cream to go with the gravy as well but I was too lazy and didn't bother didn't have the ingredients.

I love the gravy! Although the gravy looks very rich, the taste is mild and not overwhelming on the palate. The texture and taste of beef, onion, carrot, potato and mushroom complemented each other very well. Certainly a comfort stew for the cold weather. This recipe is definitely a keeper and I'm already looking forward to cook this dish again, this time with sour cream and homemade crusty bread.

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